Religious and moral education is being squeezed out of the curriculum in most Edinburgh secondaries. Only the city's three Roman Catholic schools and a handful of non-denominational schools come anywhere near the nationally agreed number of teaching periods.
Eight out of 20 non-denominational schools meet the first and second-year guidelines of 80 minutes a week, or 5 per cent of curriculum time, and only three meet the third and fourth-year guidelines of 80 hours' teaching over two years.
A quarter fail to reach 25 per cent of the third and fourth-year recommended minimum and three have no religious education at all in the middle years. Four others have no RE in fourth year.
Henry Philip, Church of Scotland representative on the city's education committee, said the council was neglecting the secondary curriculum's only compulsory subject. Five secondaries had no principal teacher. "There are 40 to 50 new teachers coming out of college every year but we do not seem to get them," Mr Philip protested.
Elizabeth Maginnis, Edinburgh's education convener, said she accepted a "significant minority" of schools were not achieving the statutory requirements.